UCL Faculty of Laws


LLM in Maritime Law

Dr Melis Ozdel, Lecturer at UCL Faculty of Laws, shares some further information on the LLM in Maritime Law for prospective students:

What are the backgrounds or interests of students who normally select this specialism?

Maritime law attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and interests. For those who would like to practise maritime law within the legal profession or the shipping industry in the City or abroad, this is a must-have specialism. However, the specialism does not just attract those interested in practising as a maritime lawyer. Those seeking to develop their powers of legal reasoning and analysis also choose maritime law courses at UCL. English maritime law has a long history. It is one of the oldest and most developed branches of commercial law. A lot of the law, especially contract and tort law in this country, is developed out of judicial decisions on maritime disputes.

This fascinating but complex area of law also cuts across the traditional boundaries of public law and private law. Despite its global application, most maritime disputes are governed by English law, and London is still the place for dispute resolution. For all these reasons, the course brings together students from all over the world.

What do you think are the top highlights of this specialism? 

Our curriculum reflects the ever-evolving legal landscape in this field. In our maritime courses, we cover all major recent developments, ranging from significant maritime cases through to revised forms of maritime contracts.

We also bring our students’ awareness to the emerging maritime technologies and their possible legal implications. This year, we have asked our students to enter an essay competition on autonomous vessels and artificial intelligence technologies.

Our maritime courses are often complemented by seminars given by the leading practitioners in the maritime field. These seminars also give students an opportunity to meet maritime practitioners.

What do students who have studied this specialism usually go on to do?

Many of our students who have studied this specialism choose to become a maritime or commercial lawyer. Some of them find positions within the shipping industry (for example in Protection & Indemnity Clubs), and some choose to get involved in maritime governance and policy-making.

Which books, podcasts, blogs or newspapers do you recommend to students interested in taking this specialism?

I’d recommend newsletters published by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation), the CMI (Comité Maritime International) and the European Maritime Safety Agency. Students can also gain some maritime industry knowledge by following other maritime newsletters such as the Lloyd’s List and Maritime Risk International.

What would you say to a student who is considering taking this specialism but hasn’t made up their mind yet?

Despite its long history, maritime law has not lost its relevance to this day. When economic indicators are riding high, larger quantities of cargo are carried by vessels, giving rise to more maritime activities with some legal implications. When the market is down, legal disputes can increase significantly.

A hive of activity can also be seen in maritime policy-making, which is an equally complex but fascinating area. From sulphur emissions through to digitalisation of the maritime industry, the maritime future is being shaped by a wide range of policy-making activities at both national and international levels.

Find out how to apply to one of our LLM programmes